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Forty-Year-Old Foam Springs Back With New Benefits

Issue: 2005 Category: Consumer/Home/Recreation Category Icon - Consumer/Consumer Goods
Page: 46-49 Center: Ames Research Center
State: NC Manufacturer: Dynamic Systems, Inc.
Origin: Improved Airline Seating for Crash and Vibration Protection
Tech Terms: Cushion, Temper Foam, Foam, Viscoelastic, Airplane, Disability, Prosthetics, Recreation
Four decades after its emergence, the world has come to realize that there are no bounds to temper foam's benefits. Though the rights to the technology have been shared amongst various manufacturers, the original product-maker, Dynamic Systems, Inc., is still going strong, pushing temper foam into new arenas. Dynamic Systems founder Charles Yost created an open-cell, polymeric "memory" foam material with unusual viscoelastic properties; that is, it possessed both high-energy absorption and soft characteristics. Ames Research Center fit this cushion-like material into a new airplane seat design that not only offered better impact protection in the event of an accident, but enhanced passenger comfort on long flights. Today, temper foam is branching out far from its original applications to absorb shock and provide an added element of safety in NASCAR, Formula 1, Champion Auto Racing Team (CART), and Indy Racing League racecars; motorcycle and horseback saddles; amusement park rides; and military and civilian aircraft. The technology has even been incorporated into archery targets, full-sized body casts for custom-clothing design, and human and animal prostheses.
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